ABP confirms Silvercrest bought product from McAdam Foods

McAdam says it did not knowingly import horse meat from Poland, and has the documents to prove it

Company also challenges tonnage quoted by ABP

Says unnamed UK meat trader supplied horse meat found at Freeza Meats

ABP Food Group has said its Silvercrest plant bought 170 tonnes of beef product imported from Poland from Irish meat trader McAdam Foods , which has since turned out to contain horse.

ABP said Silvercrest had bought the beef in good faith, but it now appeared that “horse DNA originating in Poland was present in some of these products. ABP Food Group continues to co-operate fully with the competent authorities in the investigation.” The company added Silvercrest had bought about 170 tonnes from McAdam, out of a total of 18,000 tonnes of “beef purchases” made in 2012.

McAdam, which is based in County Monaghan, stressed it did not knowingly import horse meat from Poland, and was “shocked and astonished” that horse was found in beef products it supplied.

However, in a statement on Wednesday (6 February) - issued after ABP said Silvercrest had bought product from McAdam - McAdam vigorously contested ABP’s account of Silvercrest’s trading relationship with McAdam. It said ABP’s claim that Silvercrest had bought 170 tonnes of beef from McAdam in 2012 “totally incorrect. McAdam Foods rejects this assertion.”

Instead, Silvercrest had been supplied with 110 tonnes of Irish pork, “leaving only 60 tonnes of imported frozen Polish beef being delivered,” McAdam said. “Therefore ABP have totally overstated the volumes traded.”

ABP was not immediately available to comment on McAdam’s statement regarding the tonnage it provided.

Separately, McAdam confirmed it had also supplied beef product to Rangeland Foods, and asked Freeza Meats in Northern Ireland to store some frozen beef product in its cold store on its behalf.

Earlier this week, Irish department for agriculture, food and the marine said samples of beef product at Rangeland contained 75% horse, while the UK’s Food Standards Agency said product found at Freeza Meats contained 80% horse.

McAdam said the products in question came from Poland, and that they were “bought and imported on the basis of their being ordered, documented, labelled and understood to be beef, and nothing else”. It said it was cooperating fully with official investigations and added: “We are confident that the documentation and proof that we have provided to the authorities will fully exonerate our company.”

After being named by the FSA on Tuesday, Freeza Meats issued a statement saying the product found in its cold store had been stored there on behalf of McAdam in good faith, and that all of its own meat products had tested negative for horse DNA.

It said: “In August 2012 we were approached by the meat trader McAdam Foods Services in Co. Monaghan (Republic of Ireland) to purchase a parcel of raw material, which we declined. Martin McAdam subsequently asked us to hold his product in storage, which we did in goodwill in a separated area of the storage facility.”

Commenting on Freeza’s statement, McAdam confirmed Freeza had stored Polish product on its behalf in goodwill but stressed it had not imported the product itself but bought it via an – as yet unnamed – meat trader in the UK.

In its statement on Freeza Meats, the FSA also said there was a potential link between Freeza and ABP Food Group’s Silvercrest – the plant that made the Tesco Everyday Value burger that was found to contain 29.1% horse DNA – but did not specify what the link might be.

ABP stressed Freeza was not part of the ABP Food Group.